Sunday, April 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Coco

Conan Christopher O'Brien, former television talk show host and comedian was born on this date.

O'Brien announced that he will host a new show on cable station TBS beginning as early as November 2010, effectively setting his career back even further.

Today in History -

It was a tense April in Boston in 1775. The colonists were simmering with resentment toward the motherland, on account of King George III having strewn the colonies with excessive tacks, painful to step on and bothersome to the horses. Furthermore, British cabbies had refused to unionize, and the colonists were adamantly opposed to taxis without representation.

King George III tried to assuage the riled colonists by sending them boatloads of tea. (King George III was insane.) The colonists dressed up like Indians and poured all the king’s tea into Boston harbor, proving they could be perfectly insane without any help from the king.

Meanwhile, a network of colonists had been secretly meeting for some time. They reasoned that since they preferred coffee to tea, liked salad before rather than after the entree, and couldn’t make any sense whatever of cricket, they were obviously no longer British. Perhaps they had become French, or Portuguese. Finally they took a vote, which proved they were American.

The king’s colonial representatives overheard some of these discussions, and decided to arrest as many of these patriots as possible, unless they could kill them first.

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere got wind of the British officers’ plan to arrest John Hancock and Sam Adams in Lexington that very night--arrests that would have been calamitous to the colony’s fledgling insurance and beer industries.

Anticipating colonial unrest, British officers had deployed Regulars on all the key roads between Boston and Lexington. (The Regulars had previously proved effective even where the Irregulars and Extra Longs had failed.)

Revere told some friends to hang two lanterns in Boston’s Old North Church, in order to signal his wife that he’d be late for dinner, and immediately set out for Charlestown. Once there, he mounted a horse and began the ride to Lexington.

He found himself almost immediately pursued by Regulars, whom he eluded by means of wily Boston riding tactics: he took a series of lefts from the right lane and a series of rights from the left, utterly confounding his pursuers, who were anyway accustomed to riding on the other side of the street and still weren’t sure what to do at a blinking red light. One of the Regulars rode straight into a fruit stand and ended up covered in produce. Another rode through a big plate glass window that two workmen were carrying across the road. It was pretty funny.

Just before midnight, Revere finally arrived at Jonas Clarke’s Lexington home, where he breathlessly informed Adams and Hancock that the British were coming. This confounded Adams and Hancock, who, like Revere, were themselves British.

Once the confusion was cleared up, Adams and Hancock fled for safety while Revere and two others rushed on to Concord. Many memorable and important historical events ensued, such as the American Revolution, but by then it was April 19th, and therefore no longer appropriate to this date's entry.

April 18, 1906 -
A devastating earthquake strikes San Francisco at 5:13 a.m., followed by a major aftershock three hours later. More than 3,000 people are killed from either collapsing structures or any of the 59 separate fires which burn over the next three days.

In the downtown area, the U.S. Army is forced to dynamite whole city blocks in order to contain the flames, due to the lack of water pressure.

April 18, 1955 -
Nobel Prize recipient Albert Einstein dies in his hospital bed from a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Seven hours later, his brain is plunked into a jar of formalin and taken away by the pathologist.

Thus began a 40 year journey of "They Stole Einstein's Brain".

April 18, 1983 -
62 people are killed and more than 100 injured in a suicide bombing against the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. The attacker used a van packed with one ton of high explosives.. Included among the dead is the CIA's entire Middle East bureau.

The group Islamic Jihad claims responsibility, although the intelligence community believes it was actually the work of Hezbollah.

April 18, 1988 -
American auto worker John Demjanjuk is convicted of crimes against humanity by an Israeli court. They determined that he was Treblinka's notorious Ivan the Terrible. The court sentences him to hang one week later, but the conviction is later overturned when it appears to have been a case of mistaken identity.

In 2002, a U..S. federal court later strips Demjanjuk of his citizenship after it rules that he did in fact work as a Nazi prison guard, although at Sobibor, Majdanek, and Flossenburg. On May 11 2009, Demjanjuk left his Cleveland home by ambulance, and was taken to the airport, where he was deported by plane to Germany. On November 30, 2009, his trial began in Munich on charges he helped kill 29,000 Jews as a Nazi prison guard at the Sobibor death camp in 1943. It is expected to last several months.

And so it goes

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